Faculty Training Moves Online to Move IPE Ahead

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Content themes included role optimization, resilience, mindfulness, psychological safety, leadership, and conflict.  

High-quality training programs have been a constant feature throughout all five cohorts of U-M’s lauded Interprofessional Leadership Fellows program. That’s because IPL Fellows are intended to go forth as leaders, advocates, and change agents who leverage teamwork to advance curricular and research goals, with the skills and resources to address issues common in interprofessional education (IPE). 

The current 5th cohort of IPL Fellows have recently begun work on team projects that focus predominantly on IPE in experiential settings, such as clinics or communities. The intensive training for this cohort had to be virtual due to the pandemic. So U-M Center for IPE worked again with the University of Toronto Centre for IPE (CIPE), who previously facilitated in-person interprofessional trainings for our IPL fellows. This year’s specially designed virtual program could accommodate 20 additional U-M faculty, and it reached capacity within 24 hours of opening registration. 

“When we were facing the challenge of replacing our wonderful on-site training from the University of Toronto with an alternative, I wondered if it was feasible,” said Frank Ascione, Director of Michigan Center for IPE. “However, I was also confident that our Toronto colleagues had the creativity to give us a suitable substitute. The modules were a great experience for our IPL Fellows and other interested faculty.”

University of Toronto’s Lynne Sinclair, Dean Lising, Belinda Vilhena, and Sabrina Bartlett adapted their existing CIPE professional development program content into a six-module interprofessional competency-based virtual learning program where participants could interact with facilitators and each other from their homes and offices. The content was based on interprofessional competencies and corresponding themes such as role optimization, resilience, mindfulness, psychological safety, leadership, and conflict.  

“Due to our long-standing partnership and mutual trust developed, we were able to openly explore various other pedagogical and implementation approaches,” said Lynne Sinclair, CIPE’s External Development Lead. “Examples included virtual small group breakout discussions/reflections, large group discussions, new team simulation videos, and real-time polling.”

The planning committee continued to debrief before and after each module. They used this formative and continual feedback process to pivot content and thus ensure learning needs were successfully being met in the new virtual format (example: increased time in virtual breakout rooms for the small groups, each of which were named for a variety of fruit to add some fun energy to the team-building).

“I don’t think I’ve ever been as engaged during a webinar, especially a series of them,” said Rick Barinbaum, a 5th cohort IPL Fellow and lecturer at the U-M School of Social Work. “This experience planted seeds that will sprout into some great collaborative work while also showing the right way to facilitate online learning.”

Michigan Medicine’s Caren Stalburg, a member of U-M Center for IPE’s Executive Committee and Chair of its Faculty Development Committee, concurred: “The University of Toronto team never disappoints! In the past, these faculty development sessions have been an in-person and active-learning experience. The team did a fantastic job with a quick pivot to maintain the connection, engagement, discussions, and connections each and every session–something I plan to emulate in my online teaching activities as well, particularly as we continue to limit in-person gatherings.”